Sri Lanka has set a target of attracting four million tourists by 2020 and 2.5 million tourists in 2017, Minister of Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Lands, John Amaratunga said on Friday. In 2016, 2.058,000 tourists visited the island, an increase of 14 percent compared with the previous year, he said at a press conference which was held to announce the Gateway to South Asia – a four-day International Travel Fair to be held in Colombo from May 5 to 8. The main goal of this event is to facilitate the government’s effort to achieve four million tourists arrivals by 2020. Travel trade veteran and former chairman of Tourist Board Udaya Nanayakkara has been appointed as the chairman of the organizing committee.
The event also will be a platform to attract investment to the country by showcasing the governments’ development programs such as the Magapolis Plan, and other tourism infrastructure development projects such as airport expansion and development of new highways. The country will also launch the long-delayed international tourist marketing campaign this year, the Minister said.